THE OWNER of a butcher’s shop that was burgled of its entire stock of meat and then smashed up has vowed: ‘I won’t be defeated by whoever did this’.
Paul Cripps turned up for work at Tangier Road Butchers, in Copnor, on Monday morning to find his newly-decorated shop ransacked.
His entire stock of pork, beef and lamb, worth £1,000, had been stolen.
Not satisfied with taking the meat that would have kept Mr Cripps in business for two weeks, the culprits broke the till to help themselves to £100 in change, stole building tools from the store room and made off with the shop’s wheelie bin – presumably to smuggle the meat out.
Mr Cripps, 47, a butcher for 30 years, moved from Cowplain to open his new shop in Tangier Road just 10 weeks ago. He said he was devastated by the scale of the damage.
He said: ‘I can’t believe what’s happened. I’m still shaking from the shock of it.
‘They stole all the meat I had delivered from Scotland last Thursday, which would have lasted two weeks.
‘But on top of that, they’ve wrecked the shop so soon after we’d redone the ceiling, paintwork and decorating.
‘So much money and hard work had gone into refurbishing the place – and now we’re back at square one.
‘In all the years I’ve been a butcher nothing like this has ever happened to me. It’s very upsetting but I won’t be defeated by whoever did this – I’m not giving up on this place.’
Forensic teams have scoured the butchers for fingerprints. Mr Cripps suggested police had found decent prints, but admitted he wasn’t holding out much hope of any arrests.
He said: ‘They must have made a huge racket, smashing the back window to get in, breaking the doors to the cold room where the meat was stored and into the store room for the builder’s tools.
‘I’m disgusted anyone could do something like this.’
Police confirmed they were in the early stages of investigating the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call them on 101.